Every so often architecture smacks you right in the face and forces you to remember why it is exactly that buildings touch us so deeply. The Amancio Guedes designed Saipal Bakery has more controversy in its use than most other buildings but the architectural trials and triumphs cannot be overstated.
Completed in the mid 50s, the space frames that welcome you into the building are so definitive now as in then, and perhaps the only way we can fully understand the ideas of this building and the whispers and stories that punctuated the entire process of creating it are through ignoring the hearsays of who says he says she says “its simply beautiful”, or “its not that attractive”and diving right into what ‘Pancho’ Guedes thought of the design.
From the Architect Old distinguished
The Saipal Bakery was the headquarters and factory of the Lourenço Marques Baker's Co-operative. They called Themselves Saipal bread City - The Bread of the City.
In its early days the Saipal had a powerful symbolic charge - the bakers loved it and often remarked how marvelous it was that I had made their building in the shape of a huge Portuguese bread and how the bread cupboards in their various depots throughout the building had superimposed cutouts of the elevation in wood riding the top shelf. I however had not been thinking of the Portuguese bread loaf.
The section of the Saipal was generated out of two parabolic arches worked on over and over again together with an engineer, so that the arches would only need very little reinforcement and in theory, maybe none. The best part of Saipal is the side courtyard which resulted from the provision for future expansions of the factory area into making biscuits when not making bread.
The intersection of the arches and pillars resulting from a careful analysis of the loads became monumental personages seeming to step away from the rest of the building transfixed by the shaft of emptiness where neutral zone is. The factory marked a new era in engineering within Maputo and Amancio Guedes was determined to run with it to the end.